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ROGAN: The Thief in the Castle

ROGAN: The Thief in the Castle Review

Beautiful visuals and interesting story but just needs a little more polish

Reviewed by Griffin on 18th October 2020 on Windows Mixed Reality

Review

In Rogan: The Thief in the Castle, you play as Rogan - a thief who has snuck into a castle to make some money when he gets pulled into a much larger plot of royals attempting a grab power, in which you must help the knight Victoria prove her innocence.

I played the game on normal difficultly and it took me about 4 hours to complete, but would have taken longer had I focused more on getting each of the three stage bonus items.

Note: I am reviewing this as of 2020, the game did have more issues and bugs at launch but those were since fixed so they will not effect my review.

Performance in this game is OK but certainly not amazing. I ended up playing at medium settings and the game still looked really good.

The game does not give any graphics customization other then the preset low, med, and high options.

I encountered a few bugs during play through, one where the screen went black (intentionally for a cut screen) but never returned. Restarting the level fixed the issue with no progress loss.

Another bug was (I believe is only for WMR) with the sky box or exterior fog that when looked at from certain angles would only render in one eye, however this is not a problem for most part as you are mostly indoors.

The game also has an easy exploit in which there is nothing to stop you from walking through walls and skipping large sections of the game.

I played this on:

i7 7700k

GTX 1080ti

16 GB Ram

Graphics & Presentation

The graphics in this game are amazing some of the best in VR gaming, and although there were a few low resolution textures, they were not often, and on non-important objects.

The presentation of this world was great, and it felt really developed and thought out. It's a sort of victorian medieval world with a unique design twist, for instance the guards armour resembled that of a rhino and the character Eva features an odd metal jaw.

The scale of the world is oddly too big and I assume this was intentional, but it struck me as a little off putting. It looked cool for the guards as they are in armour and need to look imposing so it makes sense that they would be a head taller than me, but on characters with exposed heads it looked odd that their heads would be 150% the size of my own.

Sound FX & Music

There were only a few bits of music in game and they were nice and fitting with the aesthetic. The games voice acting was also very good and professional, though there where a few odd casting choices with some of the guard voices sounding quite nastily but they still did well with what they had. The bigger problem was the dialogue itself. I assume this is due to the fact that Smilegate is a south Korean studio and the script was made in Korean then translated into English. Whatever it might have been the game had a number of odd lines of dialogue which aren't something an English speaker would say.

The guards also have some fun and unique banter in each level.

The game also has an issue where you could move too fast and trigger multiple lines of dialogue at the same time.

Gameplay & Immersion

Gameplay is an interesting mix of stealth and arcade feel. The levels are simple, you must get to the end and avoiding detection but between yourself and the end you may need to also find evidence, get keys, or defeat the guards. There is no alternate as detection leads to instant game over. You can throw fruit to distract guards and sticks to knock them out. There are a few climbing sections and objects you may need to manipulate. You are also a thief so littered through out there is gold and valuables which you collect as well as three special items, these reflect your score at the end of the level (killing or sneaking past guards does not matter to the score). Also when ever you pick up quest items or loot instead of putting them in a pocket or backpack you need to hold them out into a ring which vanishes them away. This is an odd choice, something you would see in an arcade game, paired with the end screen on each level.

I honestly would have preferred to just not have the end screen or looting and just had a continuous story, however these elements are in place to add challenge and encourage you to explore the levels more.

The gameplay is simple but I think ultimately effective.

Controls

Using WMR the game by default uses the trackpads to move and rotate. I re-bound this to thumb stick as it was easier to control. Rebinding was within Steamvr and required external tweaks or fixes.

To knock out the guards you must hit them over the head with a stick. I found that the angle you hit them had to be quite precise and it was not the angle I would have normally swung, however once you get the hang of it it's simple.

The game also has thief vision (basically just to tell you where to go if you get lost) and to activate this you must put a controller to your face, however the hit box for this is really big and will often accidentally trigger (most notable when climbing).

The game also has ok physics implementation. Throwing items worked as intended and the doors could be satisfyingly pushed open with just your motion (IE not specific grab points or canned animations).

Value & Replayability

Unless you really care about about the score then there is really no point in replaying the game, especially since there is no level select. You would have to play the whole game in order again. The story itself is also quite linear and conclusive.

Final Thoughts

The game has a surprisingly fun core gameplay loop, a decent plot, some dodgy writting at times but some decent humour from the guards at times. The visuals, especially the art style and performances where also really good. There are still a number of bugs, lack of graphics settings and a rather short campaign, so for the asking price of $45 local currency I would only be able to recommend this on a decent discount/sale

  • Visuals and style are highly detailed
  • The acting is solid
  • A suprisingly interesting story
  • There were some bugs
  • Some questionable localization writing
  • Short campaign.
  • Lack of graphics adjustment

Reviewed by Griffin on 18th October 2020 on Windows Mixed Reality

6 out of 10

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ROGAN: The Thief in the Castle
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